Prime Minister Stephen Harper is set to announce Tuesday afternoon that he will delay the return of Parliament to mid-October, CTV News is reporting.
If Harper does go to the Governor General for a proclamation to prorogue Parliament, the big political question is whether he is doing it simply to get a fresh start or because he hopes to trigger defeat of his minority Conservative government so he can call an election to seek a majority.
I don't buy the "fresh start" angle, mainly because the opposition has been quite vocal in recent weeks, which surely enters into the Conservatives calculations. Possibly a move to call the opposition's bluff, particularly Dion, but Harper may create an environment where there is no choice.
I see this decision as the Conservatives orchestrating their own defeat. Even if the Conservative intention isn't an election, it forces the opposition to ramp up their election preparedness, which creates a momentum that isn't easily abandoned. Harper's announcement today sets everything in motion, and with a full six weeks before Parliament returns, the rhetoric will only intensify. In many respects, all three opposition leaders have backed themselves in a corner, it is hard to see how they can tactfully withdraw and look credible.